In 2014, there were 20,620 motor vehicle crashes in Kent County. A total of 4,892 individual were injured, with 54 classified as fatal.
The results revealed that January was the most dangerous month to drive, with a total of 2,790 motor vehicle crashes that month. In addition, with 474 reported injuries, January had the highest number of injuries compared to any month.
There are multiple reasons for the high amount of motor vehicle crashes and injuries in Kent County in January. The most obvious one is weather. Kent County receives close to 21 inches of snow on average each January. In addition, there is traceable snowfall 15 of the 31 days of the month. This wintry weather creates ripe conditions for car crashes and injuries.
In addition, January has one of the fewest daylight hours out of any month. The shorter days create more treacherous conditions for Kent County drivers as they are forced to navigate area roads in the dark for longer periods of time.
January also has a major holiday, New Years Day. Although New Years Eve is obviously in December, most accidents tend to occur after midnight, when people are drinking and driving on area streets and freeways.
The OHSP report showed that 2014 was the first time since 2011 that January had the most crashes. Typically, December has the most crashes.
Perhaps the most unsettling news from the report was the 5-year trend for Kent County crashes. 2014 easily topped the prior four years in the total number of crashes. In fact, car crashes increased 16.4% in 2014 compared to 2010!
I don’t believe there are any obvious reasons for such the large increase in Kent County motor vehicle accidents over the past 5 years. Although the total amount of miles driven by Kent County motorists has increased due to an improving economy, this alone does not explain the huge jump. What ever the reasons, the dramatic increase in car and truck accidents should be investigated by our local law enforcement and government leaders.
According to the report, Grand Rapids led the way in 2014 with the most car crashes out of any municipality, although this is unsurprising given its large population. Grand Rapids had 7,756 crashes, or more than 21 per day. Of those, 1,323 resulting in personal injury and 10 were fatal. Wyoming, Walker and Kentwood were next in total motor vehicle accidents and injuries in the county.
The OHSP report contains a treasure trove of information about Michigan traffic crash statistics. The latest numbers however provide some sobering data for Kent County residents and motorists.